Subject: MTI: Ramos-Horta pleased with UN help

BBC Monitoring Europe - Political January 11, 2000, Tuesday

East Timor leader pleased with UN help - Hungarian press

MTI news agency, Budapest, in English 1045 gmt 11 Jan 00

Text of report in English by the Hungarian news agency MTI

Budapest, 11th January: East Timor will have its own efficient economy in five years, Nobel Peace Prize holder Jose Ramos-Horta, a special envoy of the council of independence groups of East Timor told the Hungarian daily Nepszabadsag' in a statement published on Tuesday 11th January .

Politically motivated violence which erupted in the wake of a referendum to secede from Indonesia last August has stopped since the arrival of international peacekeepers, and the return of people who fled to West Timor is also progressing well, Ramos-Horta said.

"We are completely satisfied with the activities of the Sergio Vieira de Mello-led UN peacekeepers," Ramos-Horta stressed. Political violence has virtually ended thanks to the efforts of Interfet, which has been in East Timor since September.

However, crime remains a serious problem, he admitted. The justice system in East Timor collapsed after Indonesian administration left the area following the August referendum. "We are now making efforts to re-establish the court system," Ramos-Horta noted.

Although East Timor's economy is still quite dependent on Jakarta, there is good reason to hope that this part of the island will be economically self-sufficient in five years. Under a maritime agreement reached in 1989, significant undersea oil and gas deposits will become part of East Timor's own reserves as it becomes independent in two to three years. These fields could yield profits of 1bn dollars over the next 20 years. Coupled with opportunities in farming and tourism, there is good chance that the economy in East Timor will become quite stable, Ramos-Horta said.


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